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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The present chapter discusses patterns of differential case marking in ergative languages, focusing on differential subject marking, which is more prominent in ergative languages (in contrast to accusative languages, where differential object marking is more prominent). It is argued that patterns of (differential) case marking can be accounted two general constraints related to (role)-indexing, on the one hand, and distinguishability (or markedness) on the other hand. This approach correctly predicts asymmetries between differential object marking (DOM) and differential subject marking (DSM) with regard to animacy, definiteness, as well as discourse features. I also show how this approach can be extended to capture a relation between case and voice alternation, as well as briefly outline diachronic scenarios leading to different types of differential case marking in ergative and split intransitive languages.

Keywords: differential case marking, differential subject marking, differential object marking, ergativity, split ergativity, split intransitivity, Optimality Theory, typology, diachrony, antipassive

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